Common pleas court participates in national survey, studies user experience

National Center for State Courts is helping six courts in Ohio learn more about user experiences with remote court hearings and technology access.  Darke County Common Pleas Court has been selected to participate in this pilot program.

Lawyers, litigants, witnesses and the public will be surveyed about their Court experiences, such as in-person experiences, remote court experiences, court website use, or on-line experiences.  They will be directed to questions customized to each court that test the efficiency and effectiveness of their particular Court service.

Funded by the Ohio State Bar Foundation, the pilot testing will occur at Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court, Fairfield County Juvenile Court, Darke County Court of Common Pleas, Chardon Municipal Court, Allen County Juvenile Court and Highland County Court of Common Pleas. Common Pleas Courts hear a large variety of cases, and that variety will help researchers analyze the effectiveness of remote proceedings, which have greatly increased during the Covid pandemic.  Comparing courts in urban or rural areas will also be meaningful. 

Darke County Common Pleas Court Judge Jonathan Hein explained his perspective. 

“Improving access to the Courts has been our goal for many years and the Covid problem made this even more urgent.  Our Court has long been a state-wide leader in using remote access technologies.  This research project will help us measure our effectiveness and learn where improvement is necessary.” 

The project will update CourtTools which currently allows courts to gather information to help evaluate performance.  “After CourTools has been updated by this pilot program, it will be better able to test the effectiveness of court proceedings using audio-video and website technologies,” said NCSC researcher Andrea Miller, who is working with researcher Erica Boyce.   After CourTools is updated, courts in Ohio and across the nation will benefit from the project.

Pilot testing will end by Spring, 2022, when NCSC will analyze the data and submit a report to the Ohio Supreme Court, including recommendations for improving access and fairness. 

The National Center for State Courts, headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., is a nonprofit court organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to the state courts. Founded in 1971 by the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger, NCSC provides education, training, technology, management, and research services to the nation’s state courts.

Darke County Common Pleas Court hearings are available to stream on YouTube at: https://tinyurl.com/commonpleas.

Darke County Press Release

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This press release was submitted to Darke County Now via our website submission service.

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